Friday, 24 April 2015

On naming

Time for another meta.

I know I'm most likely mauling proper naming conventions badly in my story. There's a simple enough reason. I'm Swedish, and pretty much the same age as my two fictional arrivals, which means I'm rather clueless when it comes Japanese high school kids name people around them.

Reading translated manga or LN, or watching anime for that matter, is like watching someone from the inside looking out. It's distorted, yet it's truer to the inside.

I'm an outsider looking in. My language, despite errors originating from my writing in a foreign language, may seem more natural to another outsider. Not as distorted. It is nevertheless not a true rendering of the inside.

And this is only the top of the prodigal iceberg. Improper naming conventions for humans are only more visible. Words, all words, carry the naming power. But they do so for the culture they are used in, and so do combination of words.

Idioms, references to local culture and even simple expressions have all developed within a given context. Living in such a context alienates us from other contexts.

In my case I have all my characters thinking like someone from Sweden. I can't avoid that, because I can't truly leave my own context. Even my exposition is based on that context.

I can write about differences, but I can't truly react as someone who is radically different. Thus when my characters reflexively react they use a Swedish reptile brain.

It all boils down a peculiar "Swedishfied" Hollywood version of a Japan that has never existed.

I can only hope I'm excused for that, or at least understood.

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